So Tom and my birthdays have come and gone. Hard to believe that I am now 38 years old. There are several people who have told me “Oh, you’re just a baby.” and sure…most of the time you’re going to be a baby to SOMEBODY. But I can’t believe how fast life goes by. Kind of a cosmic joke that as you start to get a handle on things (if you’re lucky)…POOF..it’s all over.
While you’re reading this…do me a favor. Notice your bare feet on the ground or your heart beating in your chest. Smile. Take a moment to go and give a hug or a kiss to a loved one who is in the next room. Because we are so lucky to be alive at this very moment. Never, ever forget that. Even when things get all crazy and messed up like they can so often, just thank the stars that you’re breathing and alive. Because before long it won’t be that way anymore.
Anyway…enough of THAT line of thought. Geez…maudlin much, Leah?
Thursday night Tom and I drove twenty minutes into the CBD to get take-away food from this little place we’ve been wanting to eat at called Lord of the Fries. They do burgers and fries (aptly named place, right?) and hot dogs and fried chicken. And it’s all vegetarian. It was so delicious but the best thing was by far the fried chicken. Other than the shape, which was a drumstick shape that was a slight bit off, you wouldn’t have known you weren’t eating actual friend chicken. It was SOOOO FREAKIN’ GOOD. I kept thinking about that fried “chicken” the next day.
Friday night Tom drove us to Whitianga. He wouldn’t tell me where we were going and as we drove over the dark roads I was driving him absolutely CRAZY by reading very single road sign I saw and asking if that was where we were going. And then I just started naming towns off the top of my head, “Or we going to Napier? Tauranga?” He asked me, “Are you actually just going to sit there and say every single town you can think of? You’ll find out when we get there.”
It was a fun road trip. Especially because my phone lost data so the only music we could listen to were Spotify playlists I already had downloaded so Tom was going crazy listening to what he calls my hippy music. I’d be happily singing along to a song and he’d say, “So did they mail you a tie-dyed shirt when you down-loaded this song?”
Tom says that I only listen to hippy music or country music. He thinks all Americana music is country…..*sigh*..these Kiwis know nothing.
I started singing “Friends In Low Places” by Garth Brooks to give him an example of what country music really is but I had to stop because I thought he might intentionally drive us off the road.
Just to be clear, I don’t like country music unless it’s Willie or Waylon. Or maybe a few old songs we used to always play as teenagers like “You Never Even Called Me By My Name”. Tom just tends to think EVERYTHING is country.
Also, to be clear, I also enjoy listening to old school rap music because I am gangsta’ as HELL.
So we got to Whitianga, a little beach town which is kind of quiet during this time of year but apparently crazy over Christmas (remember, that’s summertime here). We got there pretty late on Friday so we just went to our rental place, watched a movie, and went to sleep.
These pictures are both in Whitianga. On the other side of the road there are all sorts of cafes and restaurants and backpacking hostels. Even though it was winter, there was still a good amount of people roaming about. I can’t imagine what it’s like during the summer season.
Saturday morning we drove about twenty minutes to Opito Sands….
It was pretty chilly and windy so we only walked on the beach for about twenty minutes before heading back to the car. But it was totally worth it…the views on the drive were especially amazing.
After a lunch of bagels and cream cheese and tomatoes back at the rental, Tom surprised me again by taking me to a place called The Lost Spring which was fancy thermal springs day spa.
It was pretty amazing. Even more so because there were cocktails involved. We spent two hours soaking in the hottest pool they had there, brainstorming about Christmas gifts we needed to buy for people for our upcoming Texas trip (eeeee! I’m so excited!!).
Then we showered there and heading out to dinner. After dinner we decided to go for one more beer at this sports bar in the (tiny) town center called Franky’s.
I found these photos on line….I didn’t take them.
There were only a handful of people in there and there was a three-man band playing cover songs, Paul Simon and Tom Petty and tons of other familiar songs. We were just going to have a beer or two but then the owner came over and started talking to us between his bouts of dancing by himself in front of the band, and he bought us shots and before long Tom and I were up there dancing with him as well. At one point we were all lined up, there were a few more people there at this point, yelling “Jolene, Jolene, Jolene, Jo-leeeeeene!’ in our best Dolly Parton voices. At another point the singer brought the microphone to me so I could help him sing “Wagon Wheel” which these Kiwis seem to absolutely LOVE. It is a good song, to be fair.
Needless, to say, Tom and I spent a lot more time at that bar than we intended and when we left we were well beyond sober. It was unexpected and it was a lot of fun.
Whitianga is doing a lot of road works right now, during the off season, and on the short walk home Tom kept jumping over the fences and construction cones and trying to entice me to do the same. I refrained and kept yelling at him that I didn’t want to wind up in jail in some little New Zealand town. He kept yelling back that the one police officer in the town had gone to sleep hours ago and we had the run of the place. It was all very friendly, drunk yelling. I am actually surprised no one came out from anywhere as it was quite late and VERY quiet and we were literally the only people on the street.
The next morning I had pictures on my phone I didn’t even remember taking…..
We had such a fun time. And surprisingly enough, the hangover the next day was not bad at all. At least for me, who just sat there and played on social media and sang my hippy songs on the three hour drive home while Tom had to navigate extremely windy roads. I did offer to drive but he wasn’t going to let me anywhere near the steering wheel. Probably a good decision, to tell you the truth.
So it’s Monday and Tom left this morning for a five-day basketball tournament. We’ve got parent meetings tomorrow night at work that I have to prepare for and I’ve been falling a bit behind on my freelance writing goals. Plus, the new season of Orange Is The New Black is on Netflix and I’ve also downloaded Mamma Mia 2 which Tom would not abide me watching while he’s in the house. Normally, he’ll keep himself busy in other ways if I’m watching something he’s not interested in, but he’s drawn the line at that movie.
So while the cat’s away this little mouse gets to watch Abba musicals.